“If Janet Evanovich and Maeve Binchy wrote a book together, Murder in an Irish Village would be the result.” ~ Laurien Berenson, author of Live and Let Growl
I was fortunate to read an early draft of Murder in an Irish Village,and despite a busy schedule, finished it in a day and a half. If you love mysteries with heart, humor, and a world you can get lost in, you’ll look forward to the next installment of the series.
First-time mystery author Carlene O’Connor shares her love of storytelling and an affinity for the Irish countryside in Murder in an Irish Village (Kensington Books, 2016), the first in a planned series featuring Siobhan and her raucous, engaging brothers and sisters.
The fiery redhead navigates guardianship of her siblings and a hint of romance with a local police officer while trying to carve out a semblance of normalcy for herself in her home village of Kilbane, County Cork.
Niall brought his face close to hers. She stood her ground despite desperately wanting to back away from him.
She’d never seen such a look in anyone’s eyes before. It was as if he was pleading with her and threatening her at the same time. Like a wounded animal you feared would tear into you the minute you stepped in to help. She was trapped.
“I need ten thousand euro.” Niall inched even closer.
They barely had a thousand euro in the bank. Not that it mattered. She wouldn’t give Niall Murphy the lint from her pocket.
Siobhan O’Sullivan is doing the best she can. Barely a year has passed since her parents died in a car accident, leaving her to run the family bistro and look after the rest of the O’Sullivan Six. James, the oldest brother, is only a few months sober and their four younger siblings depend on them for just about everything.
When they wake to find a man sitting in their bistro dining room with a pair of scissors sticking out of his chest, the future of the restaurant is as unsure as their own. Siobhan has already sacrificed her scholarship to Trinity College and now risks her own safety to help track down the killer, protect her siblings, and keep the doors of Naomi’s Bistro open.
O’Connor has created an enchanting village filled with colorful locals, each with their own distinct roles to play. The engaging characters include Siobhan’s siblings who add warmth, laughs, and more than their own slew of problems to her already burdened shoulders. Amateur sleuth Siobhan faces these challenges with believable determination, a fiery wit, and more than a hint of charisma.
The fictional town of Kilbane is rendered in breathtaking brushstrokes of blue skies, rolling green hills, historic ruins, and the authentic dialogue of its inhabitants. Carlene O’Connor writes with humor, an obvious love of her chosen setting, and a deft hand at plotting. She strikes just the right balance between a fully fleshed out world and brisk pacing.
Readers and armchair sleuths will find solving this crime challenging. Luckily, they’ll enjoy the journey as they meander the lanes and fields of this walled village, and will eagerly await the next adventure of the O’Sullivan Six.
For more information on author Carlene O’Connor, you can read my interview with the author here. You can also connect with her on Facebook and her website.